The Power of Our Words
Healthcare clinicians can model and educate as they attend to their own language in speaking and documentation, and invite colleagues to join them in mitigating the unintended consequences of ineffective word choice.
At the heart of communication in healthcare settings and beyond are decisions related to language and word choice. As palliative care has developed and been integrated across settings and diagnoses, phrases and concepts such as “comfort care," and “suffering” weave across discussions, often without consciousness of the cultural, social, and historical contexts of the patient and family we are serving. No matter the setting, words and phrases significantly impact patient, family and clinician experiences, decisional outcomes, bereavement and legacy. Well-intentioned, yet misplaced word choice, can negatively impact patient interpretation of information, insert bias and create distance when the goal is to enhance connection. Healthcare clinicians can model and educate as they attend to their own language in speaking and documentation, and invite colleagues to join them in mitigating the unintended consequences of ineffective word choice.
*Please note: In order to be eligible for CE credit, you must register with your full name (as it appears on your professional license) and your license state and number.
Approved for 2 contact/clock hours of continuing education credit by the Continuing Education Institute of Illinois in collaboration with the University of Illinois Department of Family Medicine for the following professions:
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